The kids of Stranger Things, and the actors who play them, are the show's heart and soul - but how old are they really?
It's common in Hollywood for older actors to play children and teenagers, and in the case of Stranger Things many (but not all) actors are indeed older than their characters. Generally, it seems that the middle school actors are closer in age to their characters, while the high school characters are played by adult actors. Since the showrunners are hoping for at least four or five seasons of Stranger Things, this means that audiences will get to watch the kids grow up as the series continues. Let's have a look at the exact ages.
The Middle Schoolers
The core friend group at the beginning of Stranger Things are Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair. All of these characters are 12 years old in Season 1 and 13 years old in Season 2. However, Noah Schnapp who plays Will Byers is the only one who is the same age as his character.
The others are all older. Mike is played by Finn Wolfhard, who is 14 years old - the same age as Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin. The oldest member of the D&D party is Lucas' actor, Caleb McLaughlin, at 16.
Eleven is also 12 years old in the first season and 13 in the second, just like her actress - Millie Bobby Brown is also currently 13 years old.
In the second season, a few new young characters are introduced. Maxine "Madmax" Mayfield might be 13, but Sadie Sink who plays her is 15 years old. Also added is Lucas's younger sister Erica, played by season two's breakout star Priah Ferguson, who's 11 years old.
The High Schoolers
The high schoolers in Stranger Things at first seem like a knock-off Breakfast Club. Nancy, the "Princess", is caught in a love triangle between the popular Steve and the loner Jonathan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of the actors who play the high schoolers are actually in high school.
That said, some actors are closer to their character's ages than others. The two major actresses who play high school girls are both currently in college. Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy (Mike's older sister), is 20 years old and currently attends New York University. Nancy is 16 in season one and 17 in season two, so Dyer is only three years older than her character. Shannon Purser, who plays Nancy's friend Barb in the first season, is also 20 years old. Purser currently attends Kennesaw State University.
Other actors are much older than their characters. Max's stepbrother Billy Hargrove might be 17 in season two, but the actor who plays him, Dacre Montgomery, is 22 years old. Jonathan Byers, Will's older brother, is 16 in the first season and 17 in the second season, but Charlie Heaton who plays him is 23. The biggest gap of all is Steve Harrington. In the show, he's one year older than Jonathan and Nancy, making him 17 in season one and 18 in season two. However, Joe Keery is 25 years old, making him the oldest of the Stranger Things "kids".